When you think of bucket list travel, you won’t go too far into your wish list before the Maldives pops up. I’m thinking, if you’re like me, probably somewhere in the top three destinations in the world.
Well, it certainly has been on mine for some time, and in January I was fortunate enough to tick it off the bucket list.
I took advantage of a very cost effective package from Luxury Escapes, some months earlier, and booked The Park Hyatt, Hadahaa in the Maldives. My travelling partner for this super romantic, honeymooner paradise, sunset walk love fest…was my 14 yr old daughter! A strange duo for this type of vacation, I agree, however, it was actually a special and bonding experience for both of us. One I will treasure forever.
So, before you book your trip, here are few things you should know.
Firstly, if you are travelling pretty much from anywhere in the world, the Maldives are a freaking long way away.
We flew from Melbourne to Singapore, and had a 3 day layover to break up the travel. Singapore is a vibrant and beautiful city, with great shopping, restaurants and some pretty amazing sight seeing.
We visited the the famous Marina Bay Sands. With 3 mighty towers below, an infinity edge pool at the top, and standing tall at 191 mtrs high in the sky, the view from the Sky Deck is simply breathtaking. We went at night for the ever impressive view of the CBD city lights and the bay below.
We then walked across the bridge and down to the Gardens by the Bay. This is Singapore’s number one tourist attraction.
Gardens by the Bay is a huge, colourful, futuristic park in the bay area of Singapore. The famous Supertree structures offer an impressive skywalk over the gardens, over-sized seashell-shaped greenhouses recreate chilly mountain climates and there are hundreds of trees and plants to discover.
Walking through the 3 gardens is magical. At one point during an animated light show, we, along with everyone else, stopped walking and lay on the concrete path and looked up to the night sky to enjoy the most delightful show of music and lighting! Amazing.
Next stop, the Maldives.
Now, depending on which island you are staying on, depends on how many flights, boats and transfers you will require to get there. Out of Singapore you will fly to Male, which is the capital of the Maldives. An airport and a small fishing port with not much else, this is island you want to be at for the least amount of time! So book your transfers accordingly.
To get to The Park Hyatt Hadahaa, is quite a trek. We flew out of Singapore mid morning to Male, which takes approximately 4.5hrs. We then waited 2 hours at the Male airport for our connecting domestic island hopper flight to another smaller island.( Approx 1 hr) Then after another wait, we were greeted by the Park Hyatt skipper and jumped aboard a traditional speed boat and taken to the island of Hadahaa, which is another 50 minutes.
The Park Hyatt is located directly on the equator and under the Milky Way, so as I said previously, it’s a freaking long way away! There is nothing else around you either, so its very isolated, which can be a bit confronting, and its tiny!
But from the minute you arrive, that is all forgotten.
This island is simply breathtaking.
The sand is so white is is blinding.
The ocean is so clear with bright greens and vivid blues, it will take your breath away.
And this was to be our home for the next 5 nights. A small pinch ourselves moment and then we were taken to our villa.
I decided on the over water bungalows, because once again, it was a bucket list, and I really enjoyed the idea that we could snorkel directly form our deck. Plus, that view of a seemingly never -ending ocean was pretty enticing.
The island itself is very small, approximately 400m x 500m, so a quick walk around the entire island is very doable. It is the island you go to if you seriously want to do nothing. Nothing!
I’ll admit at first, my daughter and I were little surprised that it was so small, with limited things to do. The sum total of the island activities included yoga, snorkelling and kayaking. How would we entertain ourselves for 5 nights and 6 full days!
But then pretty quickly, we adapted to island life and embraced the nothing. And it was awesome. Doing nothing was what it should be about. No rushing, no scheduling of activities, just reading, relaxing, swimming, talking and…nothing much else. Paradise.
Of course, if you want dive, surf or escape you can..there are tours daily to other islands nearby, but once we had decided that ‘nothing’ was the nature of the week, thats what we did.
There is nowhere quite like this in the world. The untouched beauty of this 5 star island resort is impressive. I chatted with the resort manager in length about the design of the resort, and he stressed that when planning the layout of the villas, both land and ocean, it was an important detail in the brief to ensure that minimum landscaping was done. Therefore all of the buildings are set between the foliage, within the pattern of the landscape.
This is particularly evident upon arrival, where you are taken to the open air, sand floor welcome lobby. It is organic and natural, and is made from locally sourced timber and designed to reflect and upturned traditional Madilvian fishing boat. A perfect welcome.
The main pool area, just off the beach is also stunning. A salt water oasis overlooking the ocean was the perfect spot to mix up the tanning and swimming locales.
So I guess in summary, this getaway, albeit quite a trek, was worth every one of the 23hrs to get home! The over water bungalow was simply perfect.
The morning yoga on the private deck or on the white sand over looking the ocean was surreal.
The best bit…I spent quality time with one of my kids. That is the kind of bucket list travel to aim for.